Italians? Apparently, they just can't get enough Italian food. Researchers at the Polli Cooking Lab just published some research that we all should have expected and that should surprise exactly no one: Italians really like Italian food.
Sure, lots of nations take pride in their own cuisine. And some countries, like Australia—which now tells its people how Australian their food is—are trying to get their citizens to buy more homegrown stuff.
But Italy seems to take food nationalism to a whole new level.
According to the study, Italian origin is the key to the buying decisions of 71 percent of Italian consumers. Italian origin is more important to Italians than any kind of quality guarantee—which only 67 percent of those polled look for. Furthermore, Italian origin outweighs the absence of preservatives, which 66 percent deem important. It even trumps organic certification, significant for 61 percent of the population.
And what types of food products do Italians prefer to be of Italian origin? Pretty much everything. But most important is fresh meat (85 percent say they look for carne Italiana), milk (71 percent), and veggies (72 percent).
What is it, exactly, that Italians are so afraid of in non-Italian stuff? Apparently "non-compliance with sanitation standards" and the "presence of chemical additives" are their biggest fears. To our knowledge, just because a food product is made in Italy neither guarantees its sanitation standards nor the absence of chemicals, but if Italians want to believe their food is sacrosanct, good for them.
Did we forget to mention that the Polli Cooking Lab happens to be run by Fratelli Polli, one of the larger agro-industrial food companies ... in Italy? It's probably also worth noting that Fratelli Polli roughly translates to Chicken Brothers. Just saying.
Anyhoo, we've told you before that Italians are—how shall we put this?—paternalistic about the food they produce. When Crimea began to knock off Prosecco, Italy got pissed. It also hated when pubs in England started serving the bubbly stuff on draft, as opposed to straight from the bottle as Italians are wont to do. Italy also dressed down the UK for its failure to appreciate and identify real Parmesan. And who can forget when PornHub compared their premium member services to the king of cheese, Parmigiano-Reggiano? Horror on the part of all Italians ensued.
Prosecco and Parmigiano-Reggiano are, of course, both protected designation of origin products bearing a Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) name. But evidently Italians' fealty to their nation's foodstuff isn't limited just to high-end luxury goods or iconic products. They like all their food to come from the land that brought us aqueducts and sports cars.
And they don't care who the hell knows it.